How To Can Delicious Orange Slices

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Oranges are a delicious and nutritious fruit that can be enjoyed in many ways. One way to enjoy them all year round is by canning them as slices. This is a great way to preserve them for later use in salads, desserts, or as a healthy alternative to those delicious (yet, notably not all that healthy) fruit cups! Canning not only extends the shelf life of oranges, but it also allows for convenient and easy access to this flavorful fruit. Below we will discuss what you will need to can orange slices, a super simple trick to prevent them from becoming bitter during canning, plus some great spices and sweeteners to use in the canning process.

What You Will Need

Oranges are loaded with beneficial vitamins such as vitamin C and vitamin A. They are low in calories, contain natural fiber, and are rich in antioxidants. Choose oranges that are completely ripe and juicy. You can use whatever variety you prefer, including mandarins, blood orange, or the common navel orange. They all contain safe enough acid levels to be safely canned via water bath.

Pectin Enzyme Powder is used for canning orange slices because it breaks down the fleshy parts of the fruit, also known as the pith. Without using pectin enzyme, you run the risk of your canned oranges becoming bitter. Due to it being an enzyme, it is going to break the pectin down faster with higher concentrations and warmer temps (to a degree). It is recommended to use 1/10 teaspoon for every pound of fruit. I personally have had the best luck using 1 teaspoon in a quart jar of water and orange slices. It is important not to use too much and to keep an eye on it while it soaks to prevent too much breakdown. Because the pectin enzyme breaks down plant matter, too high of a concentration or left too long in the soak will cause the orange slices to turn to mush, especially after canning.

A syrup, with your choice of sweetener, is needed to can the oranges and give them that delicious fruit cup taste. A simple syrup with water and sugar is most often used. However, a syrup made from honey will give the canned fruit a delicious honey taste. Just remember that this syrup must be heated before adding to the jars, and is then heated again during canning, essentially stripping most of the enzymes out of the honey.

Besides the simple ingredients mentioned above, there are some needed equipment when canning orange slices, including:

  • Water bath canner or large pot
  • Glass jars, lids and rings

That’s it! Three simple ingredients and just a bit of equipment and you can have juicy, sweet orange cups on the shelf for long-term use. If you prefer to have a bit more flavor in your fruit cups, there are a few spices that can be added to the syrup to give your oranges an extra boost.

  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Whole cloves
  • Allspice berries
  • Vanilla bean
  • Ginger root slices

Simply add the desired amount of spices to the syrup as it boils, and then strain out before adding to the orange slices and canning.

How To Can Orange Slices

Step 1: The most labor intensive part about canning orange slices is getting them all peeled. Completely peel off the rind of the orange but don’t worry too much about getting the pith off (the pectin enzyme will take care of that for us).

Step 2: After peeling, weigh the orange slices or place them in a container. Measure out the appropriate amount of pectin enzyme and water according to package directions or the recommendations mentioned above. Mix the two completely before pouring on top of the orange slices.

Step 3: Allow the slices and pectin water to sit, either for a few hours at room temperature or 24 hours in the fridge. It helps to occasionally swirl the mixture around to speed up the process and make sure everything is well incorporated.

Step 4: Once a majority of the pith has been remove (see picture below), strain out the liquid and give the slices a good rinse to remove any excess enzyme.

Step 5: Prepare a simple syrup using one of the recommended recipes below or your own.

  • Sugar Syrup:
    • 1 cup evaporated cane sugar
    • 4 cups filtered water
  • Honey Syrup:
    • 1 cup honey
    • 4 cups filtered water

Add any extra spices to the syrup while it cooks and strain them out before pouring into the jars.

Step 6: Clean and sterilize the canning jars, lids and rings and keep them warm, either in a 215°F oven or a simmering water bath.

Step 7: Fill the hot jars with the orange slices and then top with syrup to 1/2 inch headspace. Be sure to remove any bubbles and wipe the rims clean of any sticky residue. Secure the lids and rings on to finger tip tight.

Step 8: Place the jars in a hot water bath, cover with at least one inch of water, and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, begin a timer for 10 minutes. After processing, remove the jars from the bath onto a towel or cooling rack and leave on the counter, undisturbed, for at least 12 hours. Ensure all lids and rings have sealed, label and store in a cool, dry place.

This preservation method is great to store for long term or just to add a little something extra to those oranges. I personally love canning them in the tiny quarter pint jars for my kiddos to have on hand as a quick snack, saving money and adding more nutrition than those Dole fruit cups. Grocery store fruit is typically so old by the time it hits the shelfs and I know I’m not alone in my frustration when newly purchased food almost instantly starts rotting. This is a great way to make sure money is not wasted by immediately preserving the fruit in a quick way!

Hey Beautiful! I’m Tara, garden enthusiasts, keeper of chickens, herbal homesteader and stay at home mom of 3 tiny humans and a sourdough starter named Ma. I love teaching others how to live a self-sufficient and sustainable life through homesteading, scratch cooking, and remembering to live barefoot, wild and free!

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2 thoughts on “How To Can Delicious Orange Slices”

    1. Wild N Free Farms

      In my house… a few weeks! LOL!

      If canned and stored properly though, meaning the can is in good shape (clear of dents, swelling and rust), the lids stay intact and sealed (preferably with the rings removed), and the environment is ideal (cool, clean, dry and temps below 85F but not freezing)…. indefinitely!

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